Monday, October 19, 2015

The (pick a noun) of low expectations

Journalist Jake Tapper is getting widespread praise for asking Jeb Bush why, if it's utterly unacceptable to blame George W. Bush for not preventing 9/11, it's fair game to spend 4+ years questioning Obama and Hillary over the Benghazi attacks.

Jeb spluttered haplessly for a few seconds, apparently unable to believe that someone would ask him this, before blathering something about how, well, if Obama and Hillary had ignored prior warnings about the embassy security level, then it's legitimate to question them about this.

What's interesting is what happened next, or rather what didn't happen. The obvious follow-up from Tapper should have been: OK, but in that case, what about the infamous August 6 briefing that GWB received, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the U.S.," and GWB's wholly dismissive response. If the current Administration can be challenged for ignoring warnings, then what about that gigantic oversight?

Obviously Tapper knows about this incident. My guess is that he felt it would be too disrespectful towards a member of the political leadership class to challenge him so crisply.  He presumably  felt that he had gone out far enough on a limb already by daring to ask the first question.  Which tells you something, not so much about Tapper in particular, as about the mainstream press.

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